Nowadays the cathedral’s belfries are directed by Igor Konovalov, who has played a big role in restoring these and other bell towers in Moscow.
Tsar Alexander I ordered the construction of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in 1812, after Napoleon had retreated from Russia. The church was meant to be a sign of gratitude to God and to the people for having protected the fatherland from foreign aggressors.
Construction continued until 1883, but the church was destroyed just a few decades later in 1931: its golden domes were perhaps too luxurious for the image that the new Soviet state wanted to project. The precious metals used in the building were considered to be more valuable for the economic and industrial development of the nation.
In 1943 Stalin met with Metropolitan Sergius and allowed the election of a patriarch and the restoration of the Holy Synod, the supreme administrative governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church. However, the cathedral remained in ruins. On the order of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, in 1960 the bare foundations of the cathedral were turned into the largest open-air swimming pool in the world.
The church was rebuilt after the fall of the Soviet Union and its bells started ringing again only in 1997.